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Attorney: Author Clive Cussler inflated number of books sold

Attorney: Author Clive Cussler inflated number of books sold

Bestselling author Clive Cussler and his literary agent grossly inflated the number of books Cussler sold, an attorney said Wednesday during closing arguments of a trial involving a disputed contract for the film "Sahara."
Attorney Marvin Putnam said Crusader Entertainment's owner, billionaire Philip Anschutz, paid an unprecedented amount _ $10 million_ to adapt a Cussler book into a film because he believed Cussler had sold 100 million books. Anschutz is one of the richest men in the United States.
Putnam told jurors Cussler and his agent, Peter Lampack, defrauded Crusader before the parties agreed to make "Sahara," based on the author's action-adventure book of the same name.
Cussler, 75, has been called the "Grandmaster of Adventure." He has written 32 books.
"Without that fraud ... we wouldn't have had the contract," Putnam said. "This deal would never have happened."
The sides have filed dueling lawsuits over "Sahara," which starred Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. The 2005 film grossed only $68 million in the U.S. and Crusader's attorneys claim it lost more than $80 million.
Cussler sued the company, now known as Bristol Bay Productions, claiming it reneged on a contract that gave him approval rights over the screenplay.
Crusader filed a countersuit, claiming Cussler lied about the number of books he sold, did not cooperate during the filmmaking process and bad-mouthed the movie before its release.
Each side seeks millions of dollars in damages. The case is expected to go to the jury this week.
Putnam argued "Sahara" wasn't a box-office bomb and earned more than $200 million. He said more than 1,000 people worked on the movie and all were paid, including Cussler, but it was Crusader that took a loss.
The movie was projected to be the first in a possible franchise starring Cussler's alter ego, Dirk Pitt. Crusader had the rights to two books and a potential option on a third.


Updated : 2021-05-10 05:01 GMT+08:00